Matt Stein, the chief operating officer and certified helicopter pilot with the Classic Air Medical base in Lake Powell, recently celebrated a career milestone – his 3000th patient flight.
Classic Air Medical Chief Executive Officer Tony Henderson presented the flight wings to Matt Stein in a ceremony at the base.
Matt Stein, a Los Angeles native, began working for Classic Air Medical in 1992
“I first started as an EMS Pilot at the Page base. Things were quite different back then, we covered over 4000 square miles with one Bell 206L3 and no other operators in the region,” he said. “Having successfully flown 3,000 patient is a great feeling to realize a goal that you’ve strived for, and doing it safely. I’m going to Disneyland next week.”
The best part of being an Air Medical pilot, he added, it’s a rare combination of having the ability to help people in need during challenging conditions and having a great deal of enjoyment in accomplishing the mission.
“To be a part of the team that is going to be the best part of someone’s worst day, to help them and provide life-saving care and rapid transport. I feel very honored and thankful,” Matt Stein said.
When asked if any flights were more memorable or difficult than others, Stein said, “Considering that roughly half of my 25 years at Classic was flying without Night Vision Goggles, those unaided flights were the most challenging. There was a particular night flight (with goggles) that’s at the top of my list with a woman from Ticaboo that was hiking Ticaboo Canyon who fell and broke both legs. Her Husband found her hours later after dark and left her with a fire to stay warm before going for help. Unfortunately she passed out and rolled onto the fire causing sever burns. We were eventually called to the scene but initially snow showers and low ceilings were halting our approach. We decided to wait at Halls Crossing for the weather to clear. After 45 minutes another attempt was made this time flying up the canyon from Lake Powell. We were able to land on scene. The patient was then flown to Cal Black Airport where a Classic fixed wing aircraft continued the flight to the Salt Lake City burn center due to mountain obscuration enroute. She survived.”
Henderson said it is a pleasure and an honor to have Matt Stein on the team.
“The fact that he has reached this 3000 flight level is a testament to his dedication,” Henderson said. “It goes far beyond the 3000 patient flights, however. Stein started with Classic Air Medical as a pilot, went on and became our chief operating officer, and is a key member of our management team.”
Henderson said only about 10 percent of ems pilots ever reach the 3000th patient flight status.
“That makes our base in Lake Powell the most experienced team in the fleet,” he said. “It is humbling to be part of such a great and dedicated team.”
About Classic Air Medical
Classic Air Medical is a leading provider of helicopter and fixed-wing emergency medical services to communities in need of rapid medical transport to advanced health care, officials said.
Flight crews, consisting of a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic, are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to the scene of an emergency, or provide transportation between medical facilities.
For more information, visit Classic Air Medical or call 1-800-444-9223.